Congo’s Kabila chases an unconstitutional, unpopular re-election

A veteran of two types of campaign

LAST month residents of Binza Delvaux, a neighbourhood of Kinshasa, the lively capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, awoke to discover a huge poster in the local market. It showed Congo’s president, Joseph Kabila, with the caption “Our Candidate”. Around the same time, crude advertisements started appearing on television stations praising the “indispensable” Mr Kabila. In cities across the country, T-shirts bearing the president’s face have been handed out at free concerts put on by his party, the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD).

Congo, a dysfunctional, vast country of perhaps 80m people, is catching election fever. This is odd. According to Congo’s constitution Mr Kabila, who has been president since the murder of his father in 2001, is barred from running for a third term and ought to have stepped down in 2016. Instead, he chose simply to stay in office. After two years of “

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